ASCIT 2024 Spring Elections: Candidate Statements


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Sophie Elam - ASCIT President Candidacy Statement

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I’m Sophie Elam, a current junior in Fleming studying Environmental Science & Engineering.

I’m going to start by keeping it entirely real with you. It’s not very often that I’m entirely confident I’m qualified for a lot of the things I do at Caltech (two whoops for all my party people in the imposter syndrome club!). However, ASCIT president is a position I feel not only abundantly qualified to hold, but one I know I can fulfill with the dedication, diplomacy, and commitment necessary to have a genuinely positive impact on our community at Caltech.

If you share this confidence with me, feel free to stop reading here. If you have any hesitations, or want further convincing as to what on Earth could inspire me to be so sure of myself, I invite you to read on!

To start, I’ve spent the previous year serving on ASCIT as the Vice President of Non-Academic Affairs (aka, IHC Chair). During this time, I’ve had a number of opportunities to observe and get involved with the inner workings of our institute’s student leadership. This has given me a thorough understanding of how ASCIT’s many operations currently run and can be improved to achieve maximum efficiency. I know how ASCIT events are planned and executed, and can serve as a point of guidance for others involved in these processes during the year ahead. Given this experience, my familiarity with my fellow student leaders, and my understanding of the framework under which student leadership operates, I’m excited to hit the ground running and support ASCIT, the Houses, and student leaders in their endeavors!

I’ve had the privilege of being mentored by current and past student leaders who have helped me develop communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills. These qualities have enabled me to establish healthy working relationships across the Houses and among various administrative offices. Specifically, I have established relationships with Caltech President Tom Rosenbaum, VPSA Kevin Gilmartinc & Felicia Hunt, VP of Equity and Inclusion Lindey Malcom-Piqueux, various Caltech Alumni & Trustees as well as members of our Faculty Board, and additional administrators/officers. I have also had the honor of working closely with current ASCIT president, Gabi Twombly and ASCIT advisor, Tom Mannion, and I am actively collaborating with unopposed candidates for additional ASCIT positions including ARC Chair, Director of Operations and Social Director.

Through these relationships, I’ve led planning for the first entirely “normal” Rotation since 2019, hosting an Advocacy Appreciation event, and coordinating with the Caltech Y and Athletics to promote MAD Day. I’ve also been involved in the planning and execution of various ASCIT events (Formal, Valentine’s Decompression Event, etc.) and have cooperated with administrators to address campus-wide issues. Some of my work has included navigating issues related to accessibility, housing, noise complaints, relations with the Athenaeum, rotation violations, and more.

I’m quite proud to say that after being involved in these projects as well as a handful of side quests, I’ve maintained an enthusiasm for working with fellow students and administrators at Caltech, and am excited for the potential projects and events possible in the year to come. Hopes that I have (many of which I’ve already started laying the groundwork for) are:

  • Continuing, enhancing, and expanding current ASCIT operations such as: Formal, Techstock, Multicultural Week/Show, SAC renovations, creating community outreach and service opportunities, streamlining club and leadership documentation, and promoting off-campus activities, for example.

  • Reviving historic Caltech events like: Arts programs (guest performances from international groups!? Already in the works ;)), Student Experience Conference, and Mudeo.

  • Beginning new initiatives to better student life: Advocacy Conference, resource fairs, personal development conferences for advocates, support for students who stay on campus over breaks, and environmental consciousness promotion, to name a few.

  • Introducing new social events, for example: Orange Out tailgates, field day, food trucks, cross-campus events, contributing to a rose parade float, on-campus pop ups, and more!

I know these will not be the defining aspects of the position. Rather, as ASCIT president, my responsibility and priority will always be advocating for and serving the undergraduate community.

I will continue ASCIT’s commitment to transparency and open communication, and encourage adherence to these values across campus. In addition to this, I strive to enhance inclusion, accessibility and promote a generally welcoming atmosphere at Caltech. I recognize that not every problem can be solved during a single presidential term, but this will not prevent me from initiating change and driving progress. I feel I have demonstrated this through my commitment to various projects through the duration of and beyond my time as the Vice President of Non-Academic Affairs. Despite my temporary break from ASCIT the last few weeks, I have still been actively working with Housing, CASS, CCID, Title IX, and Athletics offices to continue ongoing projects and initiate new ones.

In addition to these projects, I have persisted my efforts to support the student body both within and outside of my work with ASCIT. Aside from ASCIT, I have made efforts to serve our campus through my participation as a BoC rep, Title IX Ad, Health Ad, PA, and as the Campus Orange Watch Coordinator. I also helped with Hacktech, SCUBA club, and various athletic events. I am hopeful that this helps exemplify my willingness to serve our community in any way I can as well as the dedication with which I will see to the responsibilities of ASCIT president.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate and honored to serve on ASCIT for the past year, and am extremely grateful for the trust you put in me to act as IHC Chair. I ask that you extend this trust another year and allow me the chance to continue serving Caltech as ASCIT President.

It’s truly been a pleasure, and if you have any questions or want to talk, I invite you to reach out to me at or find me on Messenger.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Sophie Elam

Every sign off is an opportunity.
Just not this one.

Thierno Diallo - ASCIT President Candidacy Statement

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My name is Thierno H. Diallo, and I am a junior mole from The Bronx, New York running for ASCIT president. A fun fact about me is that I flew a plane before driving a car. Over the past three years, I have served in various leadership positions throughout campus.

One of my proudest leadership roles on campus has been serving as co-founder and president of the Caltech Black Student Union (BSU) for two years now to nurture a safe space for Black students on campus. As president, I organized and led weekly meetings with a clear agenda and followed up these meetings by setting goals for the leadership team to work on before the next meeting helping hone leadership and time management skills. I also connected with alumni and other Caltech offices to further build the BSU’s network and secure funding for our events. In times of conflicts, both internally and with administration, my team looked to me to mitigate and lead them through these hardships contributing to my leadership development. Moreover, I have experience organizing events on the scale of ASCIT with over 500 attendees. I am also a skilled public speaker developed through giving speeches and presentations at BSU events.

Outside of the BSU, I furthered my communications and time management skills while expanding my campus network by serving as a RISE tutor, Teaching Assistant, and course ombud, where I helped reform the Ma 6a course last year by gathering and effectively implementing student feedback with the professor. Outside of the classroom, I am a Peer Advocate, an active member of the Muslim Student Union, a sprinter for the Caltech Track team, and a former research assistant with the Sea Ice MURI project. Furthermore, I am an admissions ambassador where I nurtured my public skills and represented Caltech through discussions with prospective students. These positions showcase my involvement in every aspect of Caltech and the network I developed along the way which will allow me to serve all students in every step or phase of the Caltech journey. My leadership and impact were recognized last year when I was presented with both the CMS & IST Gradient for Change Award and the OSE’s Emerging Leader Award.

I mention my leadership and experience to showcase my commitment to student life and my qualifications which are essential for serving as your next ASCIT president. As your ASCIT president, I hope to leverage connections with alumni and other offices to increase funding to better support the numerous clubs under ASCIT. Alongside running normal events, I plan to work with the IHC to better connect the eight houses through non-athletic events such as hosting inter-house game nights alongside more informal events. Furthermore, as your ASCIT president, I plan to incorporate student voices into our yearly event planning by sending out interest forms at the end of the spring and start of the fall terms asking students for events they want to see in the upcoming year. Through this initiative alongside many others, I plan to augment student life at Caltech for all students.

With your vote, I will support your Caltech journey as you all strive for your best selves and serve the common good inside and outside the classroom.

DirOps - Ava Barbano

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Hi everyone! I’m Ava Barbano, current sophomore in Ricketts Hovse, studying Computation and Neural Systems. You may recognize me from ASCIT Secretary spam in your inbox… I have so many more sign-offs in mind, so I’m running for the position of Director of Operations for the upcoming 2024-25 term.

I have truly enjoyed working with the ASCIT Board of Directors this year and supporting the student body. As secretary, I managed ASCIT communications, meeting minutes, agendas, bylaws, met with administration and faculty, and took on whatever miscellaneous tasks and projects were needed for our events and initiatives. I feel confident I have the experience and knowledge of ASCIT and its operations necessary to thrive in this position next year.

Screen printing room: A particular project that I’ve spearheaded that I’m excited to continue next year is the creation of a student screen printing space. Throughout the year, I’ve worked with our art professor, Jim Barry, to approve the project, obtain a space, work with the physics department to move the Physics 8 classroom out of the SAC, procure SIF funding, coordinate facilities updates to plumbing and ventilation, and plan logistics for the final floor plan and move. By next year, I hope to have the space fully functional, and begin training house social directors, club leaders, and interested students on screen printing procedures. House, club, ditch day, and personal projects could all be completed in the space. As Director of Operations, I would be in a position to ensure this new student space is established and successful for years to come.

Club management: During my time as ASCIT secretary, I have received many an email from clubs, and interacted with a wide range of leadership on campus. I’ve worked closely with this year’s wonderful Treasurer and Director of Operations during club allocation and running advertising events and club fairs. I am eager to work with the organizations on campus and support them however I can.

Equipment: I have been on both sides of returning equipment — as part of Ricketts social team and as a loyal member of ASCIT. Organizing our supplies, distributing sound equipment, setting up the stage, and even moving scaffolding. I know the layout of the SAC far too well. I am looking forward to optimizing the organization systems and making sure students have easy access to the equipment they need to make their events a success.

Publications: This year, I also plan to continue the post-pandemic support of campus publications. Ankita set a fantastic English-major precedent to managing them, and I will do my best to keep up the momentum of their efforts and set up our publications to thrive.

I am truly looking forward to working with the ASCIT BoD again this year to serve the student body. Please reach out if you have any questions via Messenger or at

Social Director - Ashlyn Roice

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Hello everyone!

My name is Ashlyn Roice, and I am running to be your ASCIT Social Director next year! I am currently a member of both Page and Lloyd House, and I am also the current ASCIT Social Media Manager. My role entails creating posts and stories for our Instagram account to maintain an interactive platform of communication with the undergraduate population.

This past year, I have gone beyond my position as Social Media Manager and have assisted with the execution of various events, from ASCIT Halloween to the Multicultural Fashion Show. I have worked one-on-one with Snigdha Saha, the current ASCIT Social Director, this past term and have trained for this position extensively under her guidance. Additionally, I have attended all ASCIT meetings since my term as Social Media Manager started and have educated myself on the roles and work of all members of the ASCIT BoD. These are some of the events and activities I have been involved in as ASCIT’s social media manager:

  • I was in charge of the Valentine’s Day midterms destressing event. I spearheaded event execution, which included finalizing the budget, developing all the stations and the menu, creating promotional material, setting up for the event, taking photos, and cleaning up after the event.

  • I have photographed for and created social media posts for every ASCIT event that has occurred in the past year.

  • I have assisted with setting up for and cleaning up after multiple alternative Interhouses and other ASCIT events and have full knowledge of what must be done to successfully execute and manage one.

  • Through my work with ASCIT, I have built relationships with Tom Mannion and several offices on campus, including OSE and the CCID.

My experiences with ASCIT in the past year have allowed me to gain full insight into what this position holds, and I am capable of managing all aspects of responsibility that come with the role, holding student satisfaction at the center of my work.

As ASCIT Social Director, I will prioritize the inclusion of multicultural identities for campus events and creating more widespread student destressing events. Further elaboration on these ideas is below:

  • Multicultural Inclusion Initiatives: As your ASCIT Social Director, I want to ensure that the voices of students from underrepresented cultural backgrounds are heard in the process of event development and execution. This would involve the creation of a council composed of students of various nationalities so that holiday celebrations for students of various religions, cultural backgrounds, etc. can be organized through ASCIT (e.g. Ramadan, Persian New Year, etc). I will work alongside the CCID to facilitate and gain funding for these events.

  • Student Destressing Events: Morale is not always high for a Caltech student, so I hope to host more activities, such as the Valentine’s Day event I created, to further motivate and energize students.

    • Themed Movie Nights: Using our projector, I’ll host outdoor movie nights (weather permitting, otherwise they’ll be moved to the Hameetman MPR) for students every month. They’ll be themed based on the season or the holiday of the month (ex: Christmas). ASCIT will provide snacks and refreshment and gain student feedback on what movie should be shown.
    • Midterms Destressing Events: We currently have Midnight Donuts as a finals destressing event, but I would like to start hosting midterms destressing events as well. The Valentine’s Day event was a success, and so I would like to host similar holiday-themed events to destress students around midterms week first and third term. For the first term, we can host a Thanksgiving event, and for spring, we can host a small celebration, such as a Spring Fling.
  • Additional Events: Additional smaller events I am considering hosting are:

    • Food Truck Night: Food trucks around Pasadena would come to Holliston Circle and students could come grab food!

    • Astronomy Night: ASCIT, perhaps collaborating with the Astronomy Department, would host an evening of stargazing using telescopes, accompanied by some light refreshments.

    • Noodle Night: We would set up a noodle bar, similar to that from the Lloyd Alternative Interhouse, and students could grab vegan/non-vegan udon with their friends.

  • Open Feedback on Student Events: As your Social Director, I want to be in touch on what events students would like to see on campus. I will not only maintain the feedback form on events (which is currently on our Instagram’s LinkTree), but I will also work with OSE and any other relevant student departments to fund experiences that a group of students bring to me. My hope is that a group of 10+ students can bring a proposal of an event that can be approved and funded for by ASCIT.

  • Improving Relationships with House Social Teams: I hope to elevate ASCIT’s relationship with the Houses’ respective social teams, so we might mutually support each others’ roles and work.

I am also committed to not only maintaining current ASCIT events, including ASCIT Formal and the Multicultural Fashion Show/Food Fair, but also elevating them for further student enjoyment by continuously seeking feedback.

I would be honored to serve as your ASCIT Social Director next year, and give back to the school that has given me so much. I am so excited to implement my ideas, and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, I am happy to respond through email (, Instagram (@ash.roice), or Facebook Messenger!

Treasurer - Jonathan Booker

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Hello! I’m Jonathan Booker, a junior studying Physics and Computer Science and a member of Ricketts Hovse, running for reelection as ASCIT Treasurer. Having served on the ASCIT Board of Directors for the past two years, I am eager to continue the work that has made a significant impact on our community.

During my time as a member of the Board of Directors, I have championed the revitalization of key project clubs like CAOS and Caltech Racing, facilitating their successful restart post-pandemic. In collaboration with Claire Ralph and CALE, I’ve also streamlined the process for clubs to secure sponsorships, ensuring they retain the full financial benefits. Further, I have also oversaw a comprehensive restructuring of the California Tech’s finances, guaranteeing regular publication and fair compensation for its contributors. Additionally, I’ve been committed to ensuring financial transparency by publishing the budget and directly emailing club financial processes to every member of ASCIT.

As ASCIT Treasurer, I’ve oversaw the start of the ASCIT Fund so that Alumni can directly donate to student life and where that the money is donated is managed by students and lost within the institute. Additionally, I’ve been working with Tom Mannion and AAR to make it so that ASCIT can fundraise money that will go directly to the houses and student organizations. I’ve attempted to organize events to where alumni can give support to student activities as well as interact and connect with students. While these attempts did have not worked out this year, it has revealed that there are alumni that are eager to support students but no way of doing it. As ASCIT Treasurer, I will work with the IHC and AAR to make sure that these events happen.

In my role as ASCIT Treasurer, I have introduced a higher level of budgetary transparency by making our finances publicly accessible in the Tech, a practice I intend to maintain if reelected. I have also made significant strides in enhancing cross-house funding, successfully allocating 35% of this year’s ASCIT dues to the houses. My goal is to continue expanding support for the IHC and the house system in every possible way. Additionally, I played a key role in reducing formal ticket costs, culminating in the hosting of the most affordable formal since the pandemic at SoFi Stadium. Looking forward, I aim to collaborate with Kevin Gilmartin and Student Affairs to assess financial allocations within the institute, ensuring that the funds we contribute as students are directed towards initiatives that truly resonate with our desires and needs.

If reelected, I am committed to collaborating with the ASCIT President and the Office of Strategy and Implementation to establish committees dedicated to evaluating the institute’s response to the C3 report released in April 2022. My aim is to ensure that the recommendations are implemented effectively. I plan to involve both faculty and administration members in these efforts to foster a comprehensive approach. Furthermore, I firmly believe that the respect and dignified treatment of students by faculty and administration is paramount, and I will continue to advocate for this fundamental principle.

I have really enjoyed serving this school for the past two years by having the opportunity to serve as ASCIT Secretary and Treasurer. I have done the best I could to make life easier, fairer, and less stressful for everyone involved in the Caltech community. I care about the students in this and there is more work to be continues. I have nothing else to say other than to ask that you vote for me for Treasurer so I can continue to serve everyone. Finally, I’m glad that this is my final candidate statement and election.

Unaffiliated CRC Rep - Michael Gutierrez

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Hi friends. Some of you may know me from The Tech; or from my frequent ridiculous wardrobes consisting of a “PRESS” fedora, a colorful lab coat, and outside socks; or else from my alarming degree of omnipresence across disparate corners of campus. If I had enough funny left to make a quantum mechanics joke, it would go here. Anyway, this time I’m running to be your Unaffiliated Conduct Review Committee (CRC) Representative. Why? For the same reason I always end up picking up more responsibilities: no one else was going to do it.

I’m qualified for this position because I previously acted as Ricketts House’s CRC Rep for two years, and I was actually involved in a couple of cases as acting co-chair. So… vote for me, I guess. Or don’t. Maybe I shouldn’t be given any more power on top of my existing monopoly on the media. (Did I mention I also run the Admissions Blog?)

I yield my remaining seconds of your attention to say, sending you good vibes! And hey — you’re a pretty dang awesome human :)

P.S. — For f*cks sake, don’t break the Honor Code. That would be incredibly cringe of you. If you do end up in front of the CRC (and it’s a legitimate offense, not just technicalities scraped together by an RLC), I will be judging you extremely hard.

ARC Chair - Jeb Brysacz

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For the past two years, I have served on the ARC, first as the rep for Page House, then as a campus-wide At-Large rep. Across these two years, I have gotten exposure to the breadth of events that the ARC puts on, as well as having represented undergraduate students at the Core Curriculum Steering Committee of the Faculty Board Committee. This past year, I organized two successful Student Faculty Games, and am currently planning a third (May 21st, please come!), acted as a CS option rep at both option advising events, and have been an ARC liaison for a few course complaints. Currently, I am in the process of implementing a computing-specific PAC tutoring program with the Deans and the current ARC Chair, Alex. This program will be tailored towards non-computing options and will offer course-agnostic tutoring and workshops for learning the basics of scientific computing and associated languages and libraries. If I am elected, I plan to carry this program through to completion. Last year, I co-chaired the Student Faculty Committee special topic, revising the core curriculum. Among other changes, we successfully added CS 1 as a core requirement, and decreased the HSS course requirement from 12 to 11. Both of these changes will be reflected in the newest course catalog. As part of this SFC special topics committee, I developed a professional connection with Dr. Jennifer Jahner, who will soon be the undergraduate Dean. Needless to say, I have both the experience with ARC events and relationships with administrators to represent the undergraduate population in our efforts to improve the academic and research environments at Caltech. If I am elected to ARC Chair, I will be able to utilize my experience and relationships to carry out my duties to the highest of standards and develop new programs and committees to benefit the undergraduate community.

BoC at Large Rep - Renee Hsu

Hi! My name is Renee, and I would like to be one of YOUR BoC at Large reps for this Spring term and next Fall term. The honor code is a critical part of Caltech culture, and I would argue it acts as the center for which all of the spindles of life on campus stem from. The Caltech honor code is a unique system that entitles every individual to a greater range of personal liberty based on a foundation of mutual trust. It’s one of the main reasons why I chose to come here. Over my first year at Caltech, I’ve found that the honor code simply makes life on campus better. It fosters and maintains the collaborative environment that enriches learning and gives students privileges such as take-home exams, open notes, etc. without the worry of individuals taking unfair advantage of others. However, the Caltech community has begun to lose faith in the honor code. With a greater number of cases and an even greater amount of underreporting, people have been abusing the honor code, negatively affecting all of us. As your BoC at large rep, I would do everything in my power to reinstate the honor code between houses and in the Caltech community as a whole. I would advocate for more policies within classes and departments that help students abide by the honor code, balancing strictness with necessity. I would also help facilitate more honor code advertising to help everyone jump back on the BoC bandwagon. Please vote for me as a BoC at large rep because the honor code is extremely important to me, as it is for many of you, and I want to rebuild our campus’s foundation of mutual trust. I want to be your next Beaver on the BoC.